The Eagles entered Friday’s with a second round pick and two picks in the third round. However, they traded one of their picks in the third round and ended up with one pick in the second round and one in the third.
Many people expected the Eagles to take a wide receiver in the first round. When Marqise Lee was on the board in the first round at 22nd overall, many thought he’d be the pick. However, they traded back to 26th overall. Lee was still there and it seemed like he was the sure fire pick. Instead, the Eagles drafted Marcus Smith.
With the wide receiver position still a need, it was a lock that the Eagles would take a wide receiver on day two. It seemed likely that they would grab a receiver on day two and then maybe again later on day three. Instead, the Eagles added two receivers on the second day when they drafted Jordan Matthews in the second round and Josh Huff in the third round.
As the Eagles entered the draft, the big question was how they would replace DeSean Jackson. Would they look for a similar sized player: a smaller player with a lot of speed. The Eagles seemed to take a different route in replacing Jackson’s production.
In the second round, they took Matthews, a player with great size who they intend to use as a slot receiver. He is a big upgrade from Jason Avant. Matthews has the ability to block, but is a much better receiver than Avant. He should create a lot of mismatches for teams that try to defend him with their third corner or a safety. Although he has the ability to lineup on the outside, the Eagles want to use him as a big-bodied player who can go across the middle. In the NFL, there are a lot of smaller guys who serve this role, but Matthews has the speed of a smaller player with ability to use his body to box out on defenders.
Matthews also has the ability to go down the field and make plays over smaller defenders. He can go up and get the ball and should be a great option for the Eagles in the red zone.
When you look at Huff, you see a player closer to the Jackson mold. He is a very versatile receiver with the ability to line up all over the field. His size attributes are closer to DeSean’s but he doesn’t have the same type of speed.
Although Jackson gave the Eagles to the ability to hit the home run with the deep ball, that isn’t what Kelly’s offense is built around. There is no one in the NFL who knows Huff better than Chip and if he thinks that Huff will be a great addition to his offense, than you have to feel good about it.
At this point, I think the Eagles offense is better than it was last year. They lost Jackson and Avant but were able to add two great pieces through the draft in Matthews and Huff and added Darren Sproles who will be the x-factor.
We knew the Eagles would need to leverage the draft to upgrade the wide receiver position and I think they have done a great job in doing so by adding two receivers with completely different skillsets. That doesn’t mean anything until it pans out on the field, but I like the way it looks on paper.